Posted: November 9th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 294 Comments »
What comes first, the chicken or the egg?
Think about some of the big plays from Sunday night. DeMarco Murray caught a pass on a wheel route and turned that into a gain of 44. Zach Ertz made a terrific catch down the right side that gained 27 yards and set up a FG. You may also remember a play in overtime where Jordan Matthews caught a pass over the middle and raced 41 yards for the winning TD.
Did Sam Bradford do something differently?
Or did his receivers just finally start making plays?
It doesn’t really matter what happened, only that the Eagles passing game came alive. There were 6 pass plays of at least 27 yards. Jordan Matthews had 3 of those plays. Finally, a game where a WR made several big plays. Riley Cooper and Miles Austin delivered long TDs vs the Skins. Josh Huff had some good plays in the win over the Saints. But Matthews was 9-133-1, the best game by an Eagles WR all year long.
Matthews has battled drops all year, but caught the ball well on Sunday night. He went up against Byron Jones, the Cowboys standout rookie DB, most of the game and got the best of him most of the time. Jones did break up a short pass in the end zone and that was a very impressive play. Not only did Matthews catch the ball, but he added RAC yards. He was fast, elusive and tough. Matthews doesn’t go down on first contact. He will break arm tackles and force you to get him down. Dallas failed to do that on the overtime play and that won the game.
Bradford has had his issues this year. But he needs help. He needs receivers to quit dropping passes and he needs them to start making plays. Both things happened last night and the results were fantastic.
Bradford didn’t throw any INTs. He generally made good decisions. That was probably his best game in terms of accuracy. He had good pocket presence. Even on the winning TD, he threw the ball just a moment before getting hit. There were several plays where I yelled “Throw it!” as a defender was closing in on him. Sam did that each time and it resulted in some key plays. Since I’m a team guy, I won’t take credit for that. I’ll let Sam have it.
Nobody is putting Bradford in the Hall of Fame just yet. He played well against Dallas, but is still 28th in the league in QB rating. He’s got to play even better if the Eagles want this to end up a successful season. Last night was a good performance. The Eagles had a makeshift OL. They were on the road. They were without a couple of key WRs. The offense still put up good numbers and made key plays. Bradford and his pass catchers were a huge part of that.
Let’s hope they build off this.
The Eagles need Agholor, Huff, Cooper and Austin to make more plays. This offense can’t be RB-TE-slot and put up big numbers on a consistent basis. The WRs have to step up. Maybe the big game from Jordan Matthews will prove to be a spark.
The offense had TD drives of 80, 95 and 90 yards. They had a 67-yard drive for a FG. Another FG drive went 45 yards. There were no short fields.
A hero I failed to acknowledge last night is Caleb Sturgis.
He hit all 3 of his extra points. He hit a chip shot 31-yard FG. His greatest moment as an Eagle came when he nailed a 53-yard FG at the 1:51 mark. That was one clutch kick.
Even more impressive, Chip Kelly said after the game that there was a bit of win on that side of the field.
A lot of people have tried to write-off the Eagles offense. The NFL solved Chip Kelly. They don’t have the right players. They haven’t drafted an OL since 1978. And on and on.
There are still issues to be fixed, but the offense isn’t nearly as bad as some try to make it out to be. The running game has really come alive. The passing game is showing real signs of life.
Lots of reasons for optimism.
Posted: November 9th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 101 Comments »
The Eagles beat Dallas 33-27 in overtime. That’s great, but it took at least 2 years off my life. I would really appreciate the team winning in less dramatic fashion in the coming weeks.
The Eagles are 4-4 and there are reasons for optimism.
The Cowboys lost their 6th in a row to fall to 2-6. It is panic time in Big D. Their season is all but over.
There are a lot of heroes in this game, but none bigger than the Eagles OL. Lane Johnson played LT for the first time in his NFL career and had a good game. Dennis Kelly made his first start at RT since 2012 and played far better than any of us expected.
The Eagles ran for 172 yards. Sam Bradford threw for 295 yards and was only sacked once. He got hit a few times, but had plenty of time to throw.
Jordan Matthews really stepped up. He was 9-133-1. He made several big plays.
Sam Bradford played well. He was 25-36-295 with a TD and no picks. That was a step in the right direction.
Jordan Hicks made his second huge play against Dallas. In the first game, he hit Tony Romo and knocked him out. This time he picked off Matt Cassel and ran it back for a TD. That was a huge momentum shift and helped the Eagles to keep playing with the lead.
There are concerns, but we’ll get into them in the next couple of days.
For now, be happy. Huge win that puts the Eagles right back into the mix and all but ends things for Dallas.
Posted: November 8th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1,060 Comments »
It wasn’t pretty, but the 1st half turned out okay. The Eagles offense started slow and Dez Bryant started hot. I think that had us all nervous. Things settled down after that and we are where we are.
The Eagle run game heated up and helped the offense go down for the tying TD. The defense gave up some yards, but came up big when Dallas got to FG range. A sack by Brandon Graham pushed them back and kept the game tied.
The revamped OL has played well. Greg Hardy has basically been a non-factor.
Sam Bradford and the passing game is great if you love the short stuff, but they have got to get a bit more aggressive if the Eagles are going to sustain drives and score points.
Dallas gets the ball first to start the 2nd half.
No takeaways yet for the Eagles. If they can get 1 or 2, that would be a huge help to securing the win.
Posted: November 8th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 613 Comments »
The game is finally upon us.
Let’s take a look at the inactives.
QB T. Lewis
WR N. Agholor
OL J. Peters
DE B. Bair
LB D. Ryans
LB B. Jones
CB D. Rice
It’s disappointing to see Agholor out, but his initial prognostication had me doubting he would play this week.
Missing Ryans might not be as big a deal this week. Dallas doesn’t have a power back. The other ILB should be able to handle the Dallas run game.
It is a bit surprising to see Marcus Smith active and Brad Jones inactive. Maybe Jones is hurt. Or maybe, just maybe, Smith had a good week of practice and the coaches want him active.
This is a big game. Great chance to bury the Boys and get right back to .500.
Posted: November 8th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 38 Comments »
Are the Eagles better than we think?
Sounds dumb to ask that about a 3-4 team, but I’m sitting here watching the Packers play the Panthers and I can’t help but think of that possibility. The Eagles blew out the Saints and Giants. They lost at Carolina, but that was a 21-16 game in the 4th quarter. The Eagles could have won that game.
At halftime, the Panthers are up 27-7, and it isn’t even that close. They easily could be up 34-7. On Green Bay. And Aaron Rodgers.
So the Panthers came back at Seattle to win there, beat the Eagles and now are blowing out the Packers. That doesn’t help the Eagles record at all, but it could make you feel differently about the loss.
Do you use the site Pro Football Reference? You should. I’m there constantly. If they ever mix in pics of Megan Fox, I’ll probably forget the rest of the internet and just stay there. Anyway, PFR has a stat they put together called SRS. They rank the teams based on a formula. Here are their NFC rankings:
Everyone else has a negative number.
You can go here to read about the SRS formula if you are a math person. This isn’t a definitive way to say the Eagles are the 4th best team in the NFC. I just think it is interesting that they rate so highly.
It will be interesting to see how the Eagles play tonight. Maybe they’ll get back to the form that helped them blow out the Saints and Giants. If so, we might start to feel pretty good about the team.
Or maybe we’re looking at another game where the team plays sloppy and underachieves.
I wrote my preview for PE.com.
I’m excited to see the Eagles defense tonight. I’m curious about the offense.
There is a lot of mystery about the OL situation. I remember a game where a guy made his first start at LT in prime time against an elite pass rusher. That was 2003. Artis Hicks moved to LT on MNF and blocked Jason Taylor. The Eagles won 36-24.
Lane Johnson should be a better LT than Hicks was.
If the OL does struggle, this will turn into an ugly defensive battle. I’m not really sure which team that favors.
We should learn something about the Eagles tonight. Did the bye help at all? Is this team ready to get hot down the stretch? Can Sam Bradford take a big step forward?
If you want some more good reading, check out this post by Eagles Rewind.